How many million people have walked into a bookstore, seen a book and said, "That's the book I was going to do?"
I've been collecting literary cartoons for some time now; clipping them from The New Yorker, borrowing them from bookstore walls, even making some up."There's a book here," I told myself.
I was right.
It's called "Books, Books, Books" and was put together by S. Gross, a regular cartoonist for the New Yorker, and Jim Charlton, an editor who's written a dozen books, most of them of the bedside "Writer's Home Companion" variety.
Being the book editor for the Deseret News, I've seen some of these sketches before. But it's nice to see them bound.
Since I deal with books every day, I likely find most of these cartoons uproarious where you may peak at bemused. I tend to move in the circles the book lampoons: "Cat-less bookstores," auto mechanics and baseball players naming Chekhov among their influences, party guests politely taking their leave with "The evening was delightful, Mona, and it's given me a wonderful idea for an epic novel."
Some of the needles about the egos of writers are the kind of observations that prompt people to scribble "So true!!!" in margins of books with Bic pens.
One reason is obvious, the editors have assembled some of the best gags from the nation's top wags here: Lee Lorenz, Henry Martin, Charles Addams, Sidney Harris, George Booth and Catharine O'Neill are just a few.
Editor S. Gross gets in more than a few shots of his own.
In the end, though the gags do require a little inside info at times, more than a few cut clean across the board.
I mean who can resist a cartoon of a turtle asking the bookstore clerk, "Would you have that in hardcover?"